The Riskies are very “merry” today, to welcome Harlequin Historical authors Julia Justiss, Terri Brisbin, and Annie Burrows as they talk about their new anthology One Candlelit Christmas! It would make a perfect holiday gift, for yourself or any other readers on your list…

Julia Justiss: Christmas is my favorite holiday! And for me, the heart of it is family. Having all my children home to share meals, fun, and laughter is the season’s highlight. So when I thought about writing a Christmas story, Christmas Wedding Wish, I looked to the Wellingfords, a family who have appeared in my work on and off since my first book.

Since her older sister’s marriage and her fiance’s death, Meredyth has watched over the Wellingford estate and family, resigned to being competent manager, devoted sister, and doting aunt. Then her brother returns for Christmas with his best friend–and that friend’s brother.

Handsome Allen Mansfell begins to make Meredyth doubt that her heart and her senses have been buried forever. But could this younger man truly be interested in a spinster like Meredyth?

Terri Brisbin: Although I’ve always loved the holiday time of year and all the parties, presents, decorations, and festivities, I think the real reason that Christmas is my favorite holiday is the feeling of hope that surrounds us then. Hope that we’ll see family members and friends we haven’t seen lately. Hope that we’ll find just the perfect gift for that special person in our lives. Hope that the coming year will be filled with health, happiness, and everything important to us.

So, it is with that hope in mind that I invite you to read my novella, Blame It On The Mistletoe. It has all the elements I think are so important during this time–family, friends, presents, hope, and most important, love.

Julia Fairchild has loved Iain MacLerie since she was just a young girl. When, years later, Iain attends their Christmas festivities, she is shocked to see a bitter, cold man where a vibrant, happy youth once was. Meanwhile, the love she felt as a child for a young man five years her senior has grown into something much more adult.

After facing death and sustaining injuries beyond repair, seeing the exquisite young woman who chased his steps as a girl just reminds Iain of all he lost, and everything he cannot have. Despite this bitter realization, his heart cannot help but hope when events and Christmas mistletoe conspire to bring them back together. But can the innocent love Julia offers conquer the fear he faces?

Annie Burrows: When I was asked if I would like to write a story for this anthology, I decided I wanted to celebrate the very essence of Christmas, which for me is not about presents and feasting and putting up decorations.

But about a baby, born to a poor family as a symbol of hope for the whole world. So my story is about forgiveness, and second chances, and the miraculous transforming power of love. I hope it touches your heart!

Before Carleton Tillotson left Nell, the rebellious rake broke her heart. Now he is back, just in time for Christmas, and Nell can’t hide her secret any longer–Carleton is the father of her son!

For readers: what is the “essence” of Christmas for you? How do you prefer to celebrate the holidays?

Happy start to the holiday season, everyone! One lucky commenter will win a copy…